Is Your Home Burglar Resistant?

There are a number of measures that homeowners can take to ensure that your homes are not attractive to burglars. If you are are concerned about break-ins, here are some basic strategies for burglar-proofing your home.

Some interesting statistics concerning break-ins in the United States:

  • InterNACHI estimates that theft makes up more than three-quarters of all reported crime.
  • In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported more than 2 million burglary offenses.
    According to a survey, burglars enter homes through the following locations:

-81% enter through the first floor;
-34% of burglars enter through the front door;
-23% enter through a first-floor window;
-22% enter through the back door
-9% enter through the garage;
-4% enter through the basement;
-4% enter through an unlocked entrance;
-2% enter through a storage area; and
-2% enter anywhere on the second floor.

  • Some interesting statistics (2002) concerning break-ins in Canada:
    -The burglary rate in Canada (877 per 100,000 people) is seven times higher than    that of the country with the fewest break-ins, Norway.
    -The burglary rate in Canada is slightly higher than that of the United States (746 per 100,000 people) but significantly less than the burglary rate in Australia (2,275 per 100,000 people).

Exterior Doors

  • Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
  • Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
  • Doors should be protected by quality deadbolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for deadbolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
  • If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mail slots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes. Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
  • If a door is equipped with glass panes, they should be installed far from the lock. Otherwise, burglars can smash the glass and reach through the door to unlock the door.
  • Spare keys should not be hidden in obvious locations. Burglars are very good at finding keys that homeowners believe are cleverly hidden. The best place for a spare key is in the house of a trusted neighbor. If keys must be hidden near the door, they should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter.
  • A peephole can be installed in doors so homeowners can see who is on their doorstep before they open the door.
  • Clients should consider installing bump-resistant locks on their doors. “Bumping” is a technique developed recently that can open almost any standard lock with less effort than is required by lock-picking. This technique uses “bump keys,” which are normal keys with slight modifications. Lock companies such as Schlage, Primus and Medeco manufacture a number of locks that offer some bump-resistance.

Pet Doors

  • Pet doors can be used by burglars to enter homes. Some burglars have reached through pet doors in order to unlock the door. It is advisable to not have a pet door, but if one is necessary, it should be as small as possible and installed far from the lock.
  • A crafty burglar may convince or coerce a small child to crawl through a pet door and unlock the door. Also, some burglars are children.
  • Electronic pet doors are available that open only when the pet, equipped with a signaling device in their collar, approaches the door. These doors are designed to keep stray animals out of the home, and may provide protection against burglars, as well.

Sliding Glass Doors

  • They should be equipped with locks on their tops and bottoms.
    They should not be able to be lifted from their frames.
  • A cut-off broom handle, or a similar device, can be laid into the door track to prevent it from being opened.

Illumination

  • Lights should be installed on the exterior of all four sides of the house. Burglars prefer darkness so they cannot be seen by neighbors or passersby.
    When building occupants are not home, a few lights should be left on.
  • It is helpful to install exterior lights that are activated by motion sensors. Burglars that are suddenly illuminated may flee.

Windows

  • All windows should be composed of strong glass, such as laminated glass, and be in good operating order.
  • They can be installed with bars, grilles, grates or heavy-duty wire screening. Barred windows must be equipped with a quick-release mechanism so occupants can quickly escape during a fire.
  • Windows should not be hidden by landscaping or structures. If landscaping or structures cannot be moved, lighting can be installed around the windows.

Landscaping and Yard

  • Shrubs and trees should not obscure the view of entrances. Shielded entrances can provide cover for burglars while they attempt to enter the residence.
  • Fences are helpful burglar deterrents, although they should not be difficult to see through.

While the house is vacant:

  • A loud radio can be used to make burglars think someone is home. Timers can be used to activate radios and lights to make the home seem occupied.
  • A car should always be parked in the driveway. A neighbor’s car can be parked there so that it appears as if someone is home.
  • The lawn should be cut regularly. Uncut grass is a clue that no one is home.

Other Tips

  • Dogs are excellent burglar deterrents. For clients who cannot own dogs, they can place “Beware of Dog” signs around the yard for nearly the same effect.
  • If no security system is installed, the client can post security alarm stickers around the yard.

Atlas Chalet Shingles..What’s The Big Deal?

A lot has a been said on Atlas Chalet shingles since its discontinuation 2010. As recent as

2015  some insurance companies have begun canceling policies and denying claims. This has sparked a lot of conversation and concern over the Atlas Chalet shingle.

History

Manufactured by the Atlas Roofing Corporation from the late 90’s until the around 2012. They were the go-to shingle for many homebuilders looking to save some money.  From 2000 until they were discontinued in 2010, thousands of homes in and around Atlanta had them installed.

They were an economical alternative to architectural shingles and were very appealing to the untrained eye, however after a short period of time homeowners began to noticed a high rate of granule loss, unfortunately the Atlas Chalet line is susceptible to water penetration which leads to premature blistering, cracking, and excessive loss of granular surface.

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The Issue

The problem is, your insurance company is not allowed to repair your roof with a product that is not of like kind and quality. Since the Atlas Chalet had been discontinued there are no replacements available leaving the only alternative is to replace the entire roof. Many insurance companies are not willing to cover a roof that can not be repaired.

Where does this leave the seller?

Heres what it means to the seller and real estate agent and why we have added it to our Top 5 “Deal Killers” List. A typical 10 day due diligence for a Home buyer is not a lot of time to hire an inspector, schedule a date and get the report in a timely manner to review.

As inspectors we have seen countless deals go down the drain because of last minute issues that require time and research to make a good decision. Unfortunately faced with a major issue many home buyers will just walk away. Just the mere mention of Atlas Chalet Shingles can send the savvy home buyer packing. 

Atlas Chalet Shingles should never kill the deal!

What you don’t see on the News or in Blogs is that there are Insurance companies that will insure Atlas Chalet roofs. Their are also many reputable roofing companies that are trained to help the buyer or seller through this process, but knowing a head of time is the key!

Thats why we are always encouraging sellers and their agents to consider having a “Pre Certified Move In Inspection,” Its the same inspection we do for the buyer, which is equally as  important for the seller.  The time to find out there is a major issues is upfront. It will not only give the seller peace of mind, it can save the deal!